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Failure to address Air Passenger Duty restricts competition between Belfast & Dublin

11 March, 2013

Sinn Féin’s Economy Spokesperson Daithí McKay MLA has said that the failure by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to prioritise the transfer of Air Passenger Duty (APD) powers to the Assembly is restricting competition between Dublin and Belfast.

Daithí McKay said:

“More than ½ million people from the north used Dublin Airport last year - a 15% increase on 2011. This is not surprising as travel time between Dublin and Belfast has been greatly reduced by the completion of the motorway between the two cities. It seems that the Finance Minister has yet to grasp the potential that the transfer of air passenger duty would have for the local economy.

“By bringing Air Passenger Duty into line with the rest of the island it would increase competitiveness and help open up new markets while offering travellers increased choice. It will assist in attracting new carriers and open up flight routes to new destinations. The resulting better flight connectivity could also lead to increased inward investment.

“While it is to be welcomed that DETI and DFP have set out Terms of Reference for a study into air connectivity, there is no timeline for this piece of work. There have already been a number of Reports compiled - the latest carried out by Price Waterhouse Cooper last month. All show that abolishing APD would assist in job creation through economic stimulus.

“The Finance Minister, and the DUP should stop prevaricating when it comes to transfer of economic levers that would clearly be of benefit to our economy. They should join with the rest of us who are working to kick start economic recovery by seeking to secure this much needed boost to our local economy.”

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